A Story Worth Sharing
As many of you will know, throughout last year we had a very
special Wednesday evening presentation for the
Mission Trip guests
that came to visit us here in Romania. Being an Anniversary Year, the
high point of each presentation was referring to these 10 years since
the Smiles Foundation officially offered visitors the chance to meet
and encourage the people that are supported through our projects. In
2004 we opened the purpose built Mission Centre and having welcomed
over 3,000 guests – it was worth celebrating! And of course the ‘cake’
was also very important!
year we will continue having the special Wednesday fellowship for each
Mission Team, but the emphasis will be on something different:
from our beneficiaries. The first one was last week –
Alexandru, from the Homeless Project,
who joined us and told us all the story of his life. It was a very
emotional moment, so I decided to write about him and to share his
story to a wider audience, something I feel is really worth sharing!
Alexandru is 62 years old. He was
born in Oradea and lived here all his life. When he was young he
started playing volleyball and he was pretty good at it, as he played
in the national league for many years. His father was Romanian, mother
was Hungarian and so they moved in Oradea where they had a very nice
apartment right in the centre of the city. That was many years ago…
His only brother moved to Bucharest, where
he had a great career being professor in the University and because
Alexandru did not accomplish quite as much in life, the brother did
not maintain the relationship, so Alexandru was left to take care of
his aging mother and himself, as well as the woman he got married to.
When he had the chance, after the Revolution, Alexandru went to
Hungary to work and to make some better money, but that did not bring
him much happiness. Due to various mistakes that he made and doesn’t
want to talk of much, his wife left him. He moved back with his
mother and tried to rebuild their lives.
But something happened that changed
Alexandru’s life dramatically. He went again in Hungary to work
and so he had to leave his mother alone in Oradea. Out of nowhere, a
cousin of his showed up in Oradea and taking advantage of the
emotional instability that the mother was in, promised her that he
will take care of her and she will never be left alone again! She had
only to accept to sell the house and move to Hungary herself, as he
will buy a new house for her there. The poor old lady accepted, she
sold the nice house and gave the money to this guy, who actually only
bought a tiny one room apartment in Oradea and moved her in there,
without giving any support and no money. When realizing she had been
conned, the old lady got into a very serious depression and soon after
that she died, having a heart condition that seems to have been fatal
Alexandru was informed about his mother
death but could not come to the funeral. When he finally came back in
Oradea, he found out all that they once had was not theirs anymore!
He lost his mother, lost the house, all the family he had. He lost
everything. And that was the breaking point for him!
He started to drink to forget about his
problems. He got bad friends that only dragged him down. He started to
look for occasional jobs, but all the money went on alcohol. He moved
in with some of these friends into a small basement, living in
terrible conditions, with rats and damp. His health deteriorated
severely and rapidly, but he didn’t care; he got to the point where
he’d drink white spirit, undiluted, to satisfy the alcohol addiction.
And so here is Alexandru, a homeless person now, with no family, no
friends, living on a downward spiral that nothing could stop!
Then, one day, he decided to do something
about it. He heard about the Smiles’ shelter for homeless and he made
a request in the spring of 2013, promising God he’ll not waste this
last chance, if granted to him.
It truly was the last chance! He was
accepted in the shelter and so he got a decent bed at night, food and
clothing, proper attention and counselling, caring friends and good
advice! He started to change, to reconsider the priorities in life. He
started again to look for jobs, he gave up the alcohol and he focused
on becoming a "normal" person again. He saved some money and so he
could take care of the health issues he had. He started to clean more
often, fix his teeth at the dentist, he bought some new clothes, he
cut his hair, he bought new shoes…
Now Alexandru has got his dignity back.
He is stable and he is reliable. Many people he did gardening for were
happy to have him working for them and asked him to go back, one of
these people actually offered him a room in his own house. As this
person was away most of the time, Alexandru would only need to be a
presence in the house and make sure all things were ok. Such a
difference! From not having a place at all to being in charge of the
We are happy and content to know we were
there when Alexandru needed us. We are even happier to see him rising
up again and having his life in order. He acknowledged that God gave
him the chance to meet with Smiles people and he is thinking more and
more seriously about his future and we are trustful that all things
will be better and better for him, as now he knows better!
A huge "Thank you!" to all the supporters
that make these extraordinary changes possible!
May God bless your heart and please continue
supporting us and enabling us to create the means for this kind of
success story, real stories of real
Let me know your thoughts, feel free to send
me an email, to which I will gladly answer!
May God bless you richly!
Assistant Director Smiles Romania